The Latest In Progress
It's 1964 in Mississippi, the Freedom Summer, and Deborah Wiles stuns readers with this powerful story told not only through fictional characters, but through ephemera such as photographs, quotes, and lyrics which provide readers with a more thorough understanding of Mississippi. She inserts juxtapositions such as the Freedom Workers’ invasion (bad) and the Beatles’ invasion (good) to get readers thinking. In addition, Ms Wiles superbly brings in crucial side stories about Bob Moses, LBJ, Muhammad Ali, and Wednesday’s Women & Dorothy Height which offers a deeper insight into the time period. Needless to say, it was a privileged to read this insightful story. Ten to Fourteen. Ruth Compton
Our Founding Fathers would have had a lot of difficulty "founding" a nation without the support of strong, heroic, smart women. Alongside information about their contributions to the American Revolution, each woman is personalized with interesting tidbits about their lives. This intriguing book will encourage readers to find out more about the Founding Mothers. Ten to Fourteen. Julie Dietzel-Glair
Weingarten, the prize-winning humorist and curmudgeon of the Washington Post tries his hand at picture book writing with a rhymed bit about doggy devotion. As a tongue in cheek sendup of religious belief it could find an audience with determinedly atheist or agnostic parents, though it’s also about the way dogs adore their people: “Murphy’s pretty smart, but he / thinks a bit too much of me./ To him, I’m not a short grade-schooler. / I’m Supreme Almighty Ruler, Super-duper boss and king.” Weingarten even channels the admonition to consider the lilies of the field—his young narrators observes of his enthusiastic pet “It’s silly how he prays and pleads, since I give Murphy all he needs.” The real treat is Eric Shansby’s energetic, silly, lively illustration. Shansby seems to have an innate understanding of the picture book. His pacing is just right and his use of white space, color and perspective has fine child appeal. Definitely someone to watch and nominated so you’ll know about it! Up to Seven. Kathie Meizner
Life in Downers Grove in the 1950s seems as calm and staid as any other small town. Tommy's family, however, is struggling. In the months following the birth of her 4th baby Mom is becoming more and more out of control. Wild mood swings, violent behavior, and depression turn her into someone he doesn't know. His eldest sister, Mary Lou, protects him until she has an accident that puts her in the hospital for months. The pressure on Tommy is enormous and his behavior goes from mild bullying to out and out meanness. Relationships change in town when a copy of the Daily Worker surfaces bringing the reality of the McCarthy witch hunts front and center. Tommy is smack in the middle of it all. This is a beautifully written story of a bully whose behavior spirals out of control as his life unravels before him.
"From a tiny acorn grows the mighty oak" goes the familiar adage, which could not be more apropos for this title. After a child plants an acorn back in 1775, over two hundred years of an oak tree's life are followed through seasonal and cultural changes. Comfortable and clean pencil and paint illustrations focused on the tree trace the development of the home and the town around it, until a dramatic recent event. Kids will identify more and more transformations through history on the double-spread pages with each rereading. Up to Seven. -Todd Krueger
Whether you know a lot or a little about Russian history you will be enthralled listening to this audio. Beginning with the introduction, "Before you begin" which explains terms and concepts used throughout the book this well researched work brings to life what this ill-equipped family faced or ignored in their lifetime. The opulence of the Romanovs is brought into sharp contrast with the poverty of most of the people they ruled. Superbly narrated by Farr and others it is a fascinating account of a doomed family in power. Excellent for the high school students who loves history- and for those who just want an absorbing and engrossing real life story. Maria E. Gentle Ages 14+,
Not many authors make for excellent narrators of their own works. Jacqueline Woodson is one of the exceptions. With a perfect pitch and most eloquent voice she narrates this collection of poetry that is mostly biographical. We learn a lot about this prolific and popular author and what it was like to grow up in the sixties and seventies partly in the South and partly in the North. No wonder her writing is always from the heart, having had loving grandparents and other relatives who looked out for her. An inspiration to any girl who wants to be a writer and a listening pleasure for young and old alike. Maria E. Gentle Ages 10+